Citing Canadian Government Documents - Chicago Style, 15th Edition


Government publications come from many different sources and so can be particularly challenging to cite. The Chicago Manual of Style 15th edition provides examples and rules for many, but not all, types of Canadian government documents.
Please note:
  • This guide, developed by SFU librarians, uses the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition [online] [printed book].
  • The 16th edition of the Chicago Manual of Style does not treat the citing of government documents as substantively as does the previous edition and suggests researchers refer to discipline specific guides such as the Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation.
  • Chicago style outlines two distinct citation styles, and this guide covers only the Humanities (notes/bibliographies) style.


Examples (Chicago Manual of Style, 17.293, 17.325-17.335)

  Reports by Individual Author

Where individual is the only author

Where individual author is noted as well as a government or government agency

Standing Committee Reports (Chicago Manual, 17.308)

Department Reports


Bills (Chicago Manual 17.330)


Government Regulations (Chicago Manual, 17.332-3)


Case Law (Chicago Manual, 17.334)

R. v. Nguyen [2009] 1 S.C.R. 826 at para. 16, 2009 SCC 25.

 Debates (Hansard) (Chicago Manual, 17.329)

Note: include the name of the speaker (after the date) only if relevant

Committee Proceedings 


Federal Accountability Act, Statutes of Canada 2006, c.9.


See also: SFU's Citing Guide for Statistics Canada, PCensus Estat and CHASS 

Rules & Explanations

 Online vs. Print Government Documents

Many government documents are most often accessed online, and so almost all the examples above are for documents accessed online. In Chicago citation style, online government documents generally have the addition of a web address, and no other changes from print documents.

Print Document Online Document


Include as much of this information as possible:

  • Author (e.g., Canada. British Columbia. Ministry of Health)
  • Title
  • Individual author, editor or compiler, if given (e.g., report prepared by Fred Cockerham)
  • Report number or other identifying information
  • Publisher, if different from the issuing body
  • Date
  • Page, if relevant
  • Include all print information, then add the web address (URL) of the document.
  • If a web address has to be broken at the end of a line, the break should be made after a double slash (//) or a single slash (/); before a tilde (~), a period, a comma, a hyphen, an underline (_), a question mark, a number sign or a percent symbol; or before or after an equals sign or an ampersand. (17.11)

Building Citations

  • Citations should begin with Canada unless it is obvious from the content. State the name of the province, department or agency following the word Canada.


Canada. Commission of Inquiry into Part-Time Work.


Canada. British Columbia.

  •  If the agency has subgroups, arrange the subgroups in descending order, with periods in between.

Canada. British Columbia. Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation.

  •  The title of the publication, italicized, should follow.


  •  Finally, include the place, publisher (if different from the issuing body/author) and date. In government documents, If you retrieved the document online, include a web address that goes directly to the document, if possible. 

  • In cases where no ambiguity could occur, you may use 3 hyphens for repeated references to the same government author in the bibliography. Only in cases where no ambiguity can occur can the 3 hyphens stand for two parts of a government name that are separated by a period (Chicago Manual, 16.86). 

Abbreviations (Chicago Manual, 5.5.20. p. 175)

Statutes of Canada-  SC (optional)

Revised Statutes of Canada-  RSC

Session - sess.

Canada Gazette- C.Gaz (optional)

Chapter- c.

Section- s.

Additional Resources

SFU's Chicago Style Citation Guide, 17th ed.  - General guide to MLA-style citation

Brief Guide to Citing Canadian Government Sources - Guide by Queen's University for citing government resources. Note that this resource does not use Chicago Style, but does have some useful examples.

Government Information Citation Guides - Courtesy of Concordia University